I love a good curry! They’re bursting with flavour, easy to make (well, depending on your recipe), and you can store them in the fridge to enjoy throughout the rest of the week!
This curry is great for vegetarians and omnivores alike. Obviously, to go veggie, just omit the chicken. If you are using chicken (in any recipe), you want to make sure you’re sourcing from a farm that doesn’t use antibiotics or hormones on their poultry. In countries like the US, hormones are banned in the poultry in industry, but from what I understand, in the Philippines it is more common and legal (RA No. 1556). I sourced my ingredients from Healthy Options, where I opted for organic and the meat is hormone and antibiotic free….
For the longest time, I was sceptical of meditation. To be honest, I didn’t really know what it was. The things I used to associate with meditation were: yogis, hypnosis, levitation and some esoteric spiritual hippie movement. So I totally understood why my father once looked at me with a little suspicion and disbelief after I announced that I was going to take 10 minutes to meditate (sorry Dad)!
You see, I’m someone that needs to understand things in an evidence based context. Show me the proof. That’s not to say we can explain all things in life with science, evidence and reasoning, but it sure does help. Luckily, many aspects of meditation can be explained and measured with science.
The biggest breakthrough for me was when I read a book called “Search Inside Yourself” by Chade-Meng Ten. Now before you literally judge the book by its cover (like I did), give me a chance to explain a little further.
Meng is a former engineer at Google, who ended up switching roles within the company to run the Mindfulness Meditation Department (which was growing popular very rapidly). Trust a silicone valley tech company to have its own mindfulness department. Anyway, he writes his book in a scientific yet relatable language which is friendlier to sceptics such as myself. It was one of those books that after reading, I could no longer erase from my mind. My view of the world and what it meant to be “spiritual” changed….
I’m finally back to uploading recipes more frequently! So recently I’ve realised that I need to take a break from all the things I think I “should” be doing, and start revisiting the things I love. This website began years ago as a space where I shared my photos and recipes, and I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed it!
My friend Bianca and I came up with this recipe after realising many people throw away their left overs of a roast chicken, which is such a waste! The bones and leftover meat can be used to make a delicious and warming broth, and/or a soup. Bone broths are particularly useful for those that need to heal an irrirated gut, as it is full of minerals and healing collagen. All the ingredients we used in this recipe were sourced from Healthy Options, so the chicken is antibiotic free and the ingredients are organic.
- The left over bones and meat from a roast chicken
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 medium carrot, cut to 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 stalks of celery
- 2 white onions, quartered
- 1 head of garlic, crushed
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon of peppercorns
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
- 8 cups of water
- 1/2 a cup of brown rice pasta
- 1/2 cup of peas
- 2 red chillies
- a bunch of cilantro
- Pick off the remaining pieces of the chicken from the bones, shred and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large stock pot and add the roughly chopped carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook until soft and they begin to brown.
- Add the bay leaf, salt, peppercorns, rosemary and the left over chicken carcass.
- Pour in the water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to simmer. Simmer uncovered for 2 – 4 hours.
- Skim off the surface from the stock every 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and strain the stock through a sieve (makes about 3 cups).
- Cook the pasta according to the label and until al dente then set aside.
- Add ½ inch cubed carrot to the chicken stock and boil for a few minutes or until soft.
- Add the peas, elbow pasta and shredded chicken.
- Serve in a bowl and garnish with fresh cilantro and chilli.
Confession: I used to hate oats. I never understood their appeal. I thought they were bland, boring, and uninspiring. To be fair, they can be pretty ordinary if they’re not cooked in the right way. However, once I started experimenting with oats I started to appreciate them so much more. They can be cooked on the hob as a warm, hearty breakfast, or prepared the night before and garnished with your favourite topping as a delicious chilled pot of goodness!
Overnight oats are idiot proof. You can’t fail if you get the measurements correct. All you have to do is mix a bunch of ingredients and leave it in the fridge overnight! Who thought something so simple could make such a great breakfast.
In this video I’ve teamed up with Quaker to show you how to make my favourite base, and 3 different ways to top your oats in the morning. Hope you learn something new, or are at least inspired to make some yourself!
For the base
- Half a cup of quick oats
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla essence
- a pinch of sea salt
Try these variations…
- Chopped strawberries, cacao nibs & a drizzle of honey
- Layer with mango puree (half a mango blended with 1/2 cup of water) and top with fresh mango
- Mix a teaspoon of cacao powder with the base, top with chopped banana and some granola
I’ve always been a goals-oriented kinda girl. For me, there’s nothing quite like striking a couple of things off my to-do list, or finishing a day knowing that I had been extra productive. It’s just so deliciously satisfying for someone motivated by accomplishing things. I find myself energised when talking to my friends about how we can grow as individuals and achieve all the things we want to do with our lives. So I’ve put together a list of some routines and habits which help me increase my productivity, hopefully it’s useful for you too!…
Considering all this, I shouldn’t have been surprised to read in Dr Murad’s book Conquering Cultural Stress that skincare is 80% from the inside and only 20% topical. But I was surprised at the honesty, because this was coming from a dermatologist who would clearly have a vested interest in pushing his products. I was also pleasantly surprised before my facial at the Murad Spa (in Rustan’s Makati), when I was handed some flyers with recipes I can make at home to promote healthy skin. I even joked about whether they were going to make me meditate during my facial, and guess what… there were some breathing techniques thrown in there (which were admittedly, very relaxing). I love that more people are embracing holistic wellness and enjoying the benefits!
Here are 3 of the Murad recipes that I ended up making at home. I liked these in particular because they are easy to make and the ingredients are readily available in the Philippines….
Life moves fast. Especially, if like me, you live in a big bad city that never sleeps. I find that even within the confines of our homes, we don’t usually allow ourselves to truly rest. We’re constantly bombarded with stimulation from the very moment we wake up. What’s the first thing you look at in the morning? Is it your phone? Do you use it as your alarm? I do. I wake up, make some breakfast, grab a cup of coffee, maybe turn on the TV to catch up with the news I missed overnight. By this time, my phone is already buzzing with incoming emails, texts, group chats. Don’t even get me started on social media.
A little later, I might hop into an uber to get to my first meeting of the day, and usually the radio is playing and someone is trying to sell me a product. Maybe I’ll stick some headphones in and listen to a podcast. More information. Drive down any major highway in Manila and you have dozens on billboards vying for your attention. Some have upgraded to video. I swear EDSA could be a tourist attraction, I’ve never seen anything that resembles it! When my family came to visit me they were just fascinated by the sheer size and volume of ads.
Anyway, you get my drift. The overwhelming amount of stimulation we absorb on a daily basis has to have some sort of effect on us. In fact, our brains weren’t built to handle this much information. Contrary to what seems to be championed as a highly sought after trait, multi-tasking is not only impossible, but can be detrimental to creativity and productivity. No wonder so many of us are stressed, we never get a break! Especially when our smartphones are so closely integrated to our everyday life. We’re literally on-call 24/7. So whilst I’m an avid supporter of getting sh*t done, I think it’s equally as important to ‘peace out’ once in a while, to truly disconnect from all the noise around us and reconnect with ourselves.
I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up in a quiet, leafy suburb, or if it’s because with each year my brain seems to outdo itself by over thinking everything, but I truly struggle if I spend too much time in a city without giving myself a break. Perhaps it’s also because my work is so tied up with social media. On top of that, I’m a one woman show – I book most of my jobs, fix my own schedule, chase after my cheques, create content and manage my online accounts. Probably, it’s all of the above.
Ducking out to a quiet spot for a few days (even if it’s just overnight) has such a profound and immediate impact on my mental and physical wellbeing. I’m less stressed and I’m able to appreciate the simple things that I take for granted every day. Like properly enjoying my meals, or taking the time to do things rather than rushing everything. It’s funny how ordinary tasks can be special when you’re in the right mindset.
My latest trip outside of Manila was to the Farm San Benito in Batangas. I’d heard of this wellness resort years ago, and had been meaning to go for a while. I finally had the chance to visit with my friend Liz, when I was sent on a #LifeMovesFast challenge by Butterfly Twists. We spent our time disconnected from our phones (for the most part – I will plead guilty to the occasional Instagram post) and reconnected with nature, making friends with the peacocks and frogs roaming around our garden.
If it’s not obvious from the recipes I’ve uploaded on my blog, I love making and eating vegan food. Finding decent plant-based food can be a bit of a challenge in the Philippines, although it’s exciting to see more and more of these restaurants and small business popping up around Manila. The vegan meals I had at The Farm were by far the best I’ve tried in the Philippines! The menu was far more comprehensive than your typical veggie restaurant, and by that I mean they didn’t just serve salads (but when they did, they were freaking delicious – baby greens with shaved pears, marinated figs, herbed oven tomatoes, almond feta cheese with creamy lime dressing anyone?). I honestly can’t remember the last time I consumed such a wide variety of fruits, veggies, legumes and grains in the span of 2 days.
The Farm is perfect for those who are looking for a wellness focussed getaway . Although we only stayed overnight, they have 5-7 day programs with activities should you decide to take them (acupuncture, yoga, meditation classes, colon hydrotherapy, flower arrangement classes, walks in greenery… the list goes on).
The highlight of my stay was a treatment I had in their spa. It started off with a full body scrub made from cacao, coconut oil and sea salt, followed by an outdoor bath filled with coconut milk and rose petals. I looked up, only to see the brightest moon and a star-studded sky, listening to the sound on birds and… frogs? That was when I noticed that the bath was surrounded by a pond filled with water lilies and fish… and yep two dozen frogs. I feel like this wouldn’t go down well with everyone (I’ll admit to having a moment of panic too) but actually found them to be rather cute. I also felt like at any moment a crab named Sebastian was going to hop out and start serenade me (yes he’s a crab not a lobster, you’ve been deceived all this time).
Liz and I also attended a yoga class in the most beautiful setting I’ve ever practised in! This is when I discovered that when you are surrounded by a beautiful garden lined with coconut trees, with just the right amount of breeze flowing in, it is dangerously easy to fall asleep.
After a day and a half of a semi digital detox, luxurious spa treatments, acupuncture, yoga and filling my body with all the nutrients it craves for, I walked away from The Farm feeling grounded, re-energised, and at peace. Fully prepared to tackle life, in however form, and at whatever speed it may come at me. So here’s to living with all the zest and enthusiasm we have, and remembering that we can live our fullest when we take care of ourselves too.
I’m sure I’m not the only one. I have many friends who deal with chronic health conditions, but can’t seem to find a real solution. These conditions may not be completely debilitating, but they’re certainly an annoyance. Perhaps you deal with occasional bloating. Maybe it’s that reoccurring rash or skin problem that doesn’t seem to ever really go away. Or it’s that migraine that you get every fortnight. We go from doctor to doctor, practise to practise, only to be given a some drugs or an ointment, before we’re ushered off to continue with our daily grind.
But do these symptoms go away? Not really. They do temporarily, but they never truly disappear. This is what happens when we just mask our symptoms with band-aid fixes instead of addressing the ROOT CAUSE of the problem. And honestly, it’s not so easy to find a doctor who does that….
It's that time of the year again...
… and here I am, once again thinking – where on earth did the year go?! Silly season is upon us again; the malls serenade us relentlessly with cheery Christmas carols, whilst elaborately decorated nativity scenes are in every other corner. The holidays in the Philippines is what I like to call Christmas on steroids – Filipinos love a good celebration, and Christmas is no exception.
Sometimes I don’t know where I stand when it comes to exchanging gifts. I love the idea of giving a loved one something useful, but more often than not, I see my friends and family receiving presents that just end up collecting dust somewhere in the house. Don’t get me wrong, I always appreciate the gesture. At the risk of sounding a little like the Grinch, I feel like most of us have more than enough possessions, and the contribution or more ‘stuff’ in our lives isn’t making us any happier. I’ve also discovered that by de-cluttering my living space, my mind is more clear and at peace.
So, considering everything I’ve just said – what do I give my friends for Christmas? Well, first of all, I love giving (and receiving) experiences more than material possessions. My sister once bought me surfing lessons for Christmas one year (and a flying trapeze lesson another year! She gets my drift). That being said, I also love giving consumables. By that, I mean products that you can use and consume rather than, say, an ornament that lies around the house. As you know, I’m passionate about health and wellness, and it makes me so happy when my friends discover new products that improve their wellbeing.
On that note, I thought I would share with you some of my top picks from Healthy Options. These are all products that I use personally, and I think they make great little gifts for friends and loved ones.
1. Birch Benders pancake mix – There are a few flavours, and when I went to healthy options I saw the plain and chocolate chip. This is the first eggless pancake mix I’ve tried that tastes delicious – the pancakes are fluffy and have a nice consistency. Great for your vegan friends or those avoiding eggs.
2. Navitas Naturals cacao nibs – these are so versatile. Perfect for a bit of extra chocolatey crunch without the dairy or sugar. I add these to granola for a bit of texture, top my smoothie bowls with them, or use them when I’m baking some banana bread.
3. Andalou Konjac Sponges – This is my most recent beauty find that has totally blown my mind! It’s a gentle exfoliator for your face and body made from a plant. You don’t need to use any product with it, just soak it in some warm water and gently use on your skin in circular motions. My skin became so smooth, without any irritation or redness. I’m a little obsessed with this right now. Sponges last 1-3 months with proper care.
4. Soothing Touch Narayan Balm – My friend Bianca introduced me to this product. I keep it in my work out bag and take it with me to yoga. It’s a beautiful soothing balm (with menthol) that I like to rub on my shoulders and temples to relax.
5. Manuka honey – Now to some people, manuka is liquid gold. It has a host of wonderful healing and antibacterial properties, and comes with a price tag. This is the manuka I found with the highest UMF (20+), but that means it goes for 4000 pesos a pot. Obviously I don’t use this every day, but when I’m coming down with a cold or a sore throat, I take it by the teaspoon or mix it in with some warm water or tea.
6. Soothing Touch lavender massage oil – If you’re a sucker for massages like me, you probably appreciate having your own organic oil. Lavender is known for its relaxing properties, and I also like the idea of using an oil that doesn’t have any artificial fragrances. Less irritants for the skin and thus the body.
7. La Tourangelle pistachio oil – Take your salad dressings up a notch by using pistachio oil in your dressings. They make great vinaigrettes (try with some balsamic and honey), or you could drizzle it over some steamed veggies with a bit of sea salt.
8. Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate – My favourite snack of the moment is this dark chocolate, Pumpkin Seed & Sea Salt chocolate bark. Their chocolate is fair trade and non GMO 🙂